Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped save up to 100,000 Jews during the Holocaust, was honored in an Australian parliament.
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell marked the centenary since Wallenberg’s birth Wednesday by announcing an annual human rights award in Wallenberg’s name.
“It is important the New South Wales Government pays tribute to a person who has made lasting and meaningful contributions to the advancement of human rights,” O’Farrell said.
Among the speakers in New South Wales Parliament House were the ambassadors of Sweden, Hungary and Israel, as well as George Farkas, a retired barrister in Sydney who believes his father John – who was Wallenberg’s right-hand man in Budapest – was the last person in the West to see him before he was captured by the Soviets in January 1945.
“It is imperative that we never forget and honor incredible heroes like Raoul Wallenberg, who represent everything that is decent, humane and honorable and who, at the price of their own life, stood up against evil when it really counted,” Farkas said.
New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said: “The New South Wales Human Rights Award in his name is wonderful recognition of a man who was one of the true heroes of the 20th century.”
Wallenberg set up safe houses and issued travel documents that saved tens of thousands of Jews. His fate remains a mystery.